Battery-maker Celgard is cutting 40 local jobs, the company said yesterday, as demand for electric vehicles lags expectations.
Company spokeswoman Beth Kitteringham said the jobs lost come from among the companys more than 700 Charlotte-region employees. Celgard has plants in Charlotte and Concord, where it makes key components for electric vehicle batteries.
Demand for (electric drive vehicles) has not increased as quickly as our customers and their customers originally projected, said Kitteringham via email. She said the decision was taken to align staffing with business needs. However, the long-term trend for the market remains positive.
Kitteringham said the job cuts were spread out between the companys two local sites. A mix of positions were impacted at both the Charlotte and the Concord locations, she said.
Celgard is a subsidiary of Charlotte-based high-tech manufacturer Polypore. In its most recent quarter, Polypore reported that net sales slumped 6.5 percent, to $177.6 million, and profits fell to $14.2 million. Thats down from $23.6 million in profits during the same quarter last year.
Sales of the companys electric drive vehicle and electronics products fell to $43.5 million, down from $56 million in the same quarter last year. Operating income for the segment was down by more than 50 percent, falling to $10.5 million from $26.5 million a year ago. Lower production levels of electric drive vehicles were cited as the main cause.
Politicians have touted Celgard as an example of a successful clean energy company. Celgard received a $49 million grant from President Obamas stimulus program, and he made a speech at the company in 2010.
The company also received $18.6 million in state and local incentives to help expansion at its Concord plant. The company opened the 150,000-sqare-foot facility, which it said brought 250 new jobs, in July 2011.
This action also has no effect on any state or local funding received to date, said Kitteringham. She said the firm will still have more than 700 employees in the area once the cuts are complete.